here hear detroit

This is just plain cool. And Detroit, is kinda the last place I would expect to find cool to be honest. But when a guy like Nick Cave attends The Cranbrook Academy of Art in white suburbia and looks to the city to connect with “his people” as he says, amazing things happen. In between, Detroit has deteriorated beyond belief while Nick Cave has risen to great heights. Bring the two back together at the perfect moment in time and WOW!

The exhibition actually started back in April with a performance series of Nick Cave in his monumental Sound Suits in and around the city. Videos of these performances make up just part of the gallery exhibition. In addition you’ll find 30 of Cave’s sound suits on display, new sculpture works, recent murals, and more . . . But that’s not all — there are dance labs, educational components, performances and community events taking place between now and October to round out the happening.

I’m feeling a trip home a comin’ . . . (see more on my last trip to Cranbrook here)

Nick Cave Here Hear now through October 11, 2015  Cranbrook Museum of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

soda. soda. soda. pop!

VernorsFour days in Michigan. Four bottles of Vernors consumed.  The bestest (yes, bestest), most refreshing soda pop ever. They call it ginger ale. I say it’s more of a ginger beer. Regardless, it’s delicious. Get yourself some here.

oh, joy!

SaundersCreamPuffThe joy of a Sanders Hot Fudge Cream Puff.  Pure unadulterated gluttony, Detroit style. The stuff childhood memories are made of. And the best news of all, you no longer have to go to Detroit to get one. With the exception of the vanilla ice cream, the makings for one of these beauties can be delivered right to your door — cream puffs, toppings and all. Shown here with Sanders Classic Caramel topping but even better (just my opinion) with the ultra dark Bittersweet Chocolate variety.  So good you’ll be tempted to eat it straight out of the jar with a spoon. But don’t, heat it ’til it’s warm and perfectly ooey & gooey.

Cream Puffs $5.99 for 6. Toppings $4.29/bottle. Available here.

image courtesy metro times


Lake Michigan Printmidwest pansMichigan Chart

1. Lake Michigan monoprint with pastel by Laurie Hunt    2.  State shaped iron skillets by FeLion Studios    3. Lake Michigan wooden chart from Below the Boat

pizza hot spot

It’s hard to make bad pizza but it’s really hard to make good pizza. Round pizza, square pizza, thick crust, thin crust, deep dish, coal fired, wood burning, grilled, white, red, anchovies, no anchovies . . . the options are endless but they can all be delicious when done right. Although opinions vary greatly on this subject, I hope to bring you the best of the best (in my opinion) from around the country and around the world in this new series, Pizza Hot Spot.

Pizza Hot Spot: Buddy’s Pizza                                                                                          Where: Detroit, Michigan (multiple locations)                                                                   Type: Sicilian style

What’s hot:  The crispy burnt edges where cheese meets crust meets pan. Oh my! Order only the small size where you get just 4 supremely crispy corner pieces and no middles. Trust me on this. Any classic toppings pair well with the sweet sauce ladled over the cheese and topped with a splash of olive oil fresh out of the oven.

ice cream challenge

Today’s Contender:  Ray’s Ice Cream
Location:  Royal Oak, Michigan
Flavor:  Orange Pineapple

This flavor is more about nostalgia than anything else really. Growing up, it was my mother’s favorite and I recall her ordering it every time we would take the drive to Ray’s, and me thinking she must be the only person in the world who ordered this flavor. I was a kid after all and flavors like Blue Moon and Banana were much more exciting to my sensibility. But years later, Orange Pineapple is still on the menu so clearly others like it as well. As flavor combinations go, it’s not bad — the refreshing orange flavor base with lots of chewy tangy pineapple bits. I can see the appeal. But in general Ray’s left me a bit flat for the ice cream was overly frozen making it hard to appreciate the flavor at all. Even after letting my healthy cupful sit for a good 10 minutes it remained more chewy than creamy. Not so much what I like in an ice cream texture but Ray’s remains a local favorite so clearly it appeals to many. For me, I’ll tuck it away in the memory banks as a childhood treat shared with Mom on a hot summer’s eve. That right there is a smile and a half for this kid.

fall is for cider and donuts

You haven’t lived until you’ve had cider and donuts from the Franklin Cider Mill in suburban Detroit on a crisp Fall day. It’s the stuff traditions are made of — bees buzzing all around, people milling about, apples being pressed into fresh cider, hot cinnamon donuts in brown paper bags, Michigan apples for sale by the bushel, bright red candied apples tempting you at every turn. Glorious! Glorious! Glorious!

The mill building was built in 1837, the same year Michigan became a state. Did you know that Michigan is the #3 apple producing state in the union?

The Franklin Cider Mill, open daily between Labor Day & Thanksgiving.                         14 Mile and Franklin Road, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

cranbrook: part two

My mission to see the George Nelson show at the Cranbrook Art Museum turned into a full afternoon touring some the grounds and the Saarinen House on what had to be the first beautiful Fall day of 2012. Indeed to see everything Cranbrook has to offer, would take more than an afternoon but a museum show, a house tour, some fantastic sculpture & architecture, plus beautiful weather was a perfect day in my book.

You would think growing up just a few miles from this iconic institution I would be well versed in its history and landscape. But in truth, even though my mother was a big supporter of many artists in residence here, and my sister well ensconced in the jewelry making community throughout her high school years, and despite yearly school trips to the Science Institute, summer day camp here when i was very young and friends who went to high school here, I was mostly unaware of the treasure that lay right in my back yard.

Not only is Cranbrook beautiful with its rolling hills, Tudor style and Modern architecture mix, its sculptures and water features galore . . . it has been home to some of the most amazing 20th century minds the world of art and design has ever known:  Eliel Saarenin, Ero Saarenin, Ray & Charles Eames,* Harry Betoia, Floence Knoll, Fumihiko Maki, Daniel Libeskind, Keith Haring, and the list goes on and on. . .

*I would have given anything to be a fly on the wall when Ray Kaiser met Charles Eames and started what was undoubtedly the most prolific and influential design partnership of our time. (He was a married professor, she was a student — quelle scandale!)

Having missed the sign up for the tour of the Saarinen House (Eliel Saarinen designed the school in its entirety back in the 1930’s. In recent years modern buildings have been added by the likes of Stephen Holl and Todd Williams & Billie Tsien) when 2PM came around I may have just invited myself to join in. Bad I know, but I’m glad I did as it was a real treat.

Designed in the classic Tudor style, the home has been recently restored. The stories of what had been done to it over the years will make you want to weep but today it is nearly an exact replica of how it was when the Saarinen family lived here. You will be amazed by the modern influences found within — extremely large bathrooms for a house built in the 1930’s with double sinks and separate stalls for showers and toilets. Built in closets with cubbies for every imaginable need. Indoor/outdoor living spaces. Beautifully executed metal work and objects designed by son Ero Saarinen as a young student (he would grow up to design such modern masterpieces as the TWA Flight Center, Dulles International Airport, and the St. Louis Arch).

I left the tour completely thankful that my years in architecture school instilled in me, a profound desire to seek out gems like Cranbrook when I travel — even if only to my home town for a weekend. I can only imagine what it must have been like to go to school here. The Academy has an amazing philosophy on top of all of this beauty — graduate level coursework taken as independent study under a single artist in residence for the duration, with just 150 students across 10 departments. No wonder it has attracted such great minds over the years. I mean, really!
Cranbrook Educational Community                                                                                          39221 Woodward Avenue
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Art Museum open Wed – Sun 11-5                                                                                   Saarinen House Tours, Wed – Sat  2PM,  Sun 1 & 3PM
more tours and information here

cranbrook: part one

I can’t think of a more fitting venue for a George Nelson design show than Cranbrook — probably the single institution that had as much if not more influence on the Modern Design world as George Nelson himself.

The show itself was small yet impactful. This man billed as an Architect, Writer, Designer and Teacher (and indeed he did all those things) was in reality a world class Design Director. He had a vision of modernity at a time when the world was poised for change and he brought together amazing talent to design furniture for Herman Miller, exhibitions for the Worlds Fair, graphics and identities for many iconic companies, and products we all know and still love today.

Reading his biography on the wall of the exhibit made you wonder how one man could accomplish so much in a single lifetime. Then it made you (or me at least) think twice about my own life. Is it possible for a do-over? At any rate, I wasn’t supposed to take pictures but I couldn’t resist. Here are a few of the items on display that if he didn’t design himself, he encouraged and directed of others. You will recognize most but I was blown away by the graphic design above all — something I never even knew his firm did.